AU FOND DU TEMPLE SAINT (The Pearl Fishers Duet) by Luciano Pavarotti & Nicolai Ghiaurov, from the opera The Pearl Fishers by Georges Bizet. (WD 13 ACT 1)
*This video used to be on YouTube on somebody else's account but must have been deleted. Luckily, I had it downloaded, and it's my favorite version of the opera so here it is back on YouTube with the same image and title.*
The painting is The Pearl Fishers by Alessandro Allori
(from Wikipedia:) Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) is an opera in three acts by the French composer Georges Bizet, to a libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré. It was premiered on 30 September 1863 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris, and was given 18 performances in its initial run. Set in ancient times on the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the opera tells the story of how two men's vow of eternal friendship is threatened by their love for the same woman, whose own dilemma is the conflict between secular love and her sacred oath as a priestess. The friendship duet "Au fond du temple saint", generally known as "The Pearl Fishers Duet", is one of the best-known in Western opera.
At the time of the premiere, Bizet (born on 25 October 1838) was not yet 25 years old: he had yet to establish himself in the Parisian musical world. The commission to write Les pêcheurs arose from his standing as a former winner of the prestigious Prix de Rome. Despite a good reception by the public, press reactions to the work were generally hostile and dismissive, although other composers, notably Hector Berlioz, found considerable merit in the music. The opera was not revived in Bizet's lifetime, but from 1886 onwards it was performed with some regularity in Europe and North America, and from the mid-20th century has entered the repertory of opera houses worldwide. Because the autograph score was lost, post-1886 productions were based on amended versions of the score that contained significant departures from the original. Since the 1970s, efforts have been made to reconstruct the score in accordance with Bizet's intentions.
Modern critical opinion has been kinder than that of Bizet's day. Commentators describe the quality of the music as uneven and at times unoriginal, but acknowledge the opera as a work of promise in which Bizet's gifts for melody and evocative instrumentation are clearly evident. They have identified clear foreshadowings of the composer's genius which would culminate, 10 years later, in Carmen. Since 1950 the work has been recorded on numerous occasions, in both the revised and original versions.
I own none of the rights to this piece, this recording, the Wikipedia information, or the painting.
Watch videos with other singers performing Au fond du temple saint:
NADIR Au fond du temple saint Paré de fleurs et d'or, Une femme apparaît! Je crois la voir encore!
ZURGA Une femme apparaît! Je crois la voir encore!
NADIR La foule prosternée La regarde, etonnée, Et murmure tous bas: Voyez, c'est la déesse! Qui dans l'ombre se dresse Et vers nous tend les bras!
ZURGA Son voile se soulève! Ô vision! ô rêve! La foule est à genoux!
NADIR et ZURGA Oui, c'est elle! C'est la déesse plus charmante et plus belle! Oui, c'est elle! C'est la déesse qui descend parmi nous! Son voile se soulève et la foule est à genoux!
NADIR Mais à travers la foule Elle s'ouvre un passage!
ZURGA Son long voile déjà Nous cache son visage!
NADIR Mon regard, hélas! La cherche en vain!
ZURGA Elle fuit!
NADIR Elle fuit! Mais dans mon âme soudain Quelle étrange ardeur s'allume!
ZURGA Quel feu nouveau me consume!
NADIR Ta main repousse ma main!
ZURGA Ta main repousse ma main!
NADIR De nos cœurs l'amour s'empare Et nous change en ennemis!
ZURGA Non, que rien ne nous sépare!
NADIR Non, rien!
ZURGA et NADIR Jurons de rester amis! Oh oui, jurons de rester amis! Oui, c'est elle! C'est la déesse! En ce jour qui vient nous unir, Et fidèle à ma promesse, Comme un frère je veux te chérir! C'est elle, c'est la déesse Qui vient en ce jour nous unir! Oui, partageons le même sort, Soyons unis jusqu'à la mort!
English Libretto or Translation:
NADIR At the back of the holy temple, decorated with flowers and gold, a woman appears... I can still see her.
ZURGA A woman appears... I can still see her.
NADIR The prostrate crowd looks at her amazed and murmurs under its breath: look, this is the goddess looming up out of the shadow and holding out her arms to us.
ZURGA Her veil parts slightly; what a vision, what a dream! The crowd is kneeling.
TOGETHER Yes, it is she, it is the goddess, more charming and more beautiful; yes, it is she, it is the goddess, who has come down among us. Her veil has parted, and the crowd is kneeling.
NADIR But through the crowd she makes her way.
ZURGA Already, her long veil hides her face from us.
NADIR My eyes, alas, seek her in vain.
ZURGA She flees!
NADIR She flees! But what is this strange flame which is suddenly kindled within my soul!
ZURGA What unknown fire is destroying me!
NADIR Your hand pushes mine away.
ZURGA Your hand pushes mine away.
NADIR Love takes our hearts by storm and turns us into enemies.
ZURGA No, let nothing part us!
NADIR No, nothing!
ZURGA Let us swear to remain friends!
NADIR Let us swear to remain friends!
TOGETHER Oh yes! Let us swear to remain friends! We have seen her, she is the Godness who today led you to me, and from now I'll keep you my promise, close as brothers we shall be! Great Godness, Heaven descended, she today has led you to me! Now we shall tread one single path, never again to part till death!